A lot of people out there think that this version of the Baltimore Grand Prix is going to be a massive failure. It is true that 5,000 discounted tickets were sold on LivingSocial.com, that ticket sales got off to an incredibly late start, and that the organizers are expecting a lower turnout than 2011, but these factors will have no effect on bringing back the race in 2013 and thus how successful we will be told this race was. Our local leaders will claim success because things should run smoothly this year and the race will return in 2013. We can thank a man named J.P. Grant for all of this. J.P. Grant is the man who bailed out the Grand Prix, saved the reputation of the leaders behind the race, and “orchestrated the single biggest outpouring of cash into Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s campaign coffers in her race for mayor.”
This Baltimore Brew article is a must read for those of you who doubt the present and future “success” of this event. J.P. Grant is a very wealthy friend of the mayor who is not going to let her down. Below are some quotes from the Baltimore Brew article that pretty much explain why Grant will not let this become anything close to a Stephanie Rawlings-Blake failure:
“The Brew has pointed out that J.P. Grant has a number of ongoing lease financing contracts with the city of Baltimore.
They include a $50 million Master Equipment Lease/Purchase Agreement signed in 2003 by then-Mayor Martin O’Malley. The arrangement allows the city to finance large equipment purchases through Grant Capital, which charges interest on the leased equipment. The leases run up to 15 years.
The agreement was amended in 2009 to permit leasing above $50 million (it is currently in excess of $60 million, according to Grant’s website). That agreement was approved by the Board of Estimates, which included then City-Council President Rawlings-Blake.”
“Shortly after Rawlings-Blake became mayor in 2010, Grant Capital entered into a $53 million leasing arrangement with the Baltimore City Housing Authority.”
“Grant Capital Management was paid a $700,000 “lease advisor fee,” according to city documents. There is also a complex schedule of rental payments (including principal and interest) to Grant for leasing the equipment.”
“Last month, The Brew disclosed that Grant is also offering itself to the Rawlings-Blake administration as a source for financing a new water meter system.
In collaboration with equipment supplier L/B Water Service, Grant says it can commit up to $120 million a year for four years (or $480 million) in financing “the acquisition and installation of a fully functional automated water meter system.”
A “successful” Grand Prix or two and the promise of “for the children” gambling should help propel our current mayor to bigger and better elected offices which will probably mean bigger and better “agreements” for Grant and his company.